ChildWise asked 1,800 children from more than 90 schools to name the one thing they couldn't live without. One in three named their computer, compared to one in five who 'need' the TV.
According to the annual survey, now in its fifteenth year, one in four five-year-olds can access the internet in their bedrooms. Around half of teenagers enjoy similar levels of web access, and spend just shy of two and a half hours a day on social-networking sites such as Bebo and MySpace.
Just 74 percent of respondents said they read books for pleasure, however.
According to the survey children spend around 1.7 hours a day online on average. One in six admitted to spending more than three hours a day surfing the web, howeveer, as well as 1.5 hours playing on a games console. Such children also watch 2.7 hours of TV.
According to ChildWise's Rosemary Duff: "[Children] are watching the same amount of TV but there is a change in the way children communicate and get their information ... a lot of children are fluent communicators but not in a conventional way. They aren't readers, they are reliant on spellchecks.
"They are a generation abandoning print and paper, and the whole integration of technology and the way they glide from one to the other is seamless. They will be surfing the net, talking to a friend and downloading a track simultaneously.
"It's hard for the older generation to understand what's going on with their children because they communicate in a completely different way."
This story, "UK Kids Prefer Computers to TVs" was originally published by PC Advisor (UK).